Dystopian Future: YA Book Recommendations

by Renee Holden, Head Editor, INALJ Nebraska

Dystopian Future: YA Book Recommendations

reneeh1I have had a lot of teens come to the reference desk recently saying that they want to read something similar to the Hunger Games.  When I ask them what they liked about the book they always say that they would love to live during that time.  “A fight to the death!” they exclaim “That would be cool.”  I think to myself…really…a fight to the death on live TV…I’m not too sure about that.

So, here are my top 5 dystopian book recommendations that keep the teens coming back for more.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

  • Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love.  This cure leads to a safe and happy life, until 95 days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.  Delirium is such an enchanting story.  It was beautifully written and brilliantly told.


Divergent by Veronica Roth

  • In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice must choose among five predetermined groups to define her identity for the rest of her life; a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not so perfect after all.  Divergent is full of adventure, romance, and it really makes you think.  What are virtues?  Can’t we have more than one virtue?  The moral dilemmas the characters face are believable.  You won’t be able to put this book down.


Legend by Marie Lu

  • Legend leads you slowly to the edge of your seat, wanting more by the end.  It involves a boy named Day who is living in poverty, wanting a cure for his family, and one of the government’s more wanted criminals, and a girl named June who is living in riches and is one of the government’s top agents.  After the murder of June’s brother, June and Day meet unexpectedly and find out a terrifying truth about what exactly happened that night.


Matched by Ally Condie

  • Imagine living in a world where everything is decided for you…what you eat…where you love…when you die…who you love.  The officials who run Cassia’s society leave nothing up to choice.  It makes for a more equal and controlled world.  This book has an engaging, riveting plot that puts a completely modern spin on Romeo & Juliet.  Teen girls love the forbidden romance aspect and teen boys love the ever-present danger.


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

  • Everybody get to be supermodel gorgeous.  What’s wrong with that?  In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a paradise where your only job is to have a really great time.  Tally turns sixteen in just a few weeks and she and her new friend will be turned.  However, her friend isn’t sure that she wants to be pretty.  When she runs away, Tally learns about the cost of being pretty and she isn’t sure she likes it.  The authorities then offer Tally the worst choice imaginable…find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.  This book is fast paced and full of adventure and really makes you think about what is pretty and the price of true beauty.


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